The Story of King Solomon
Despite his vast collection of wealth and wisdom, Solomon was brought down by women – his numerous wives’ actions led him to depart from the Lord. Solomon started well but ended badly, leaving behind a divided Israel. He developed the habit of taking for himself foreign wives as part of a strategy to expand his sphere of influence in the surrounding towns. It is believed that he had over 700 wives and 300 concubines in his royal court. Unfortunately for him, this backfired and resulted in his gradual demise, from grace to grass. In the end, he lost favor with God.
Aged 80, his death occurred in 931 BCE as a result of natural causes. As promised by God, Solomon reigned over Israel for about 30 years, from 961 to 931 BCE.
King Solomon was succeeded to the throne by his son, Rehoboam. His successor had the daunting task of ruling over a kingdom that was in both economic and political decline. By 930 BCE, the United Kingdom of Israel – a kingdom famed for its vast riches and religious piety – had disintegrated.
What does King Solomon’s story and wisdom teach us?
By prioritizing wisdom and understanding over riches and might, Solomon was able to win God’s favor. During his initial reign on the throne, he sought God’s wisdom and guidance in every step of the way.
On a hilarious but serious note, maybe you could also emulate Solomon’s request when you are saying your prayers. No one knows the next big surprise God has in stock for you. Get involved in the conversation by leaving us a comment.
You may also like: The Story of Moses
Other Interesting things about King Solomon
- The story of Solomon can be found in religious texts from three Abrahamaic faiths — the Hebrew Bible, the Qu’ran, and the Hadiths.
- The English idiom – “as wise as Solomon” – was derived from the Solomon’s story.
- It is unclear whether Solomon was the third or fourth ruler of the Kingdom of Israel.
- After the death of Solomon, the kingdom descended into anarchy. A kingdom that was once united split into two — the Southern Kingdom (Kingdom of Judah) and the Northern Kingdom (Kingdom of Israel). The former was ruled by Rehobaom, Solomon’s son and successor. The latter was ruled by Jeroboam, one of Solomon’s top officials.
- The fragmentation of the kingdom after Solomon’s death was God’s way of punishing him because he turned his back on God.
- In the Bible, the story of Solomon can be found in the first 11 chapters of the First Book of Kings. The first nine chapters of the Second Book of Chronicles also contain the story of Solomon.
- Solomon died before the completion of his prized temple – the First Temple (King Solomon’s Temple).
- King Solomon’s mother Bathsheba was the former wife of one of David’s generals, General Uriah. The general was from a Hittite (a place in modern-day Turkey). The story goes on to say that David lusted after Bathsheba while Uriah was away on a military trip. Unable to control his urges, David impregnated Bathsheba. Realizing what a grave mistake he had done, David intentionally placed General Uriah in front of the battle line, thereby causing his death. David then married Bathsheba. Their first son was killed by God as punishment for David’s transgressions. However, God forgave David and spared their second son, Solomon.
- Such was Solomon’s wealth and military capabilities so large that it is believed he had over 12,000 Calvary and 40,000 stalls of horses and chariots.
- Solomon’s rival to the throne of Israel, Adonijah, was one of eldest sons of David. Initially, Adonijah had the support of Joab- the Israeli military commander. He was also supported by the High Priest Abiathor.
- In Solomon’s case, his support came from his mother and the prophet Nathan. Upon Solomon muscling his way to the throne, he had Adonijah put to death.
- At the peak of his reign, Solomon’s domain stretched all the way from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines. He had territories that shared borders with Egypt.
- Solomon relied extensively on slaves to construct the temple. Many of these slaves were Amorites, Hittites, Jubsites and Perizzites.
- Many believe that Solomon’s Temple was razed to the ground by the Babylonians (under the leadership of King Nebuchadenezzar II) in 587 BCE.
- In the Testament of Solomon, Solomon is believed to have used demons to help him construct the temple. He had a magical ring, which was given to him by Archangel Michael, that he used to summon several demons to do his bidding.
- Due to his military might and wisdom, King Solomon received several tributes from areas that he conquered. According to some accounts, he received over 600 talents of gold. That is about 18,000 kilogram of gold.